Monday, July 19, 2010

"Ain't Nobody Here but Us Chickens!"

I always liked the joke about the fox sneaking into the henhouse with dinner in mind. The farmer, hearing squawking, runs toward the henhouse with his rifle. Panicked, the fox yells: "Ain't nobody here but us chickens!"

The popular tv show, NCIS, is now in its seventh season, and I'm pretty sure, what with reruns and all, I have seen every single episode. And I was thinking this morning of the fascinating fact that only one...count 'em, ONE...episode in all those seven years has even admitted the existence of homosexuals--though fully ten percent of the population is in fact gay or lesbian. In fact, I don't think that other than that single episode, I have even heard the word "homosexual" or "gay" uttered on the program. (Hundreds of thousands of words of dialog in seven years, and not one of them being "homosexual" or "gay"? It seems I am not the only one who refuses to accept reality.)

In the single show subject came up involved an out-of-uniform sailor being seen coming out of a....a gay bar! That was surely the first incident in the annals of the U.S. Navy that something like that had ever happened. The sailor therefore, it was implied, had to be guilty of the unspeakable crime against nature of being gay. Of course it turned out that he wasn't gay at all, you silly! He had gone into the bar to rescue his brother, who was gay. Whew! I was really worried there for a moment! I was, however, rather shocked that he wasn't booted out of the service anyway. Hey, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, if you get my drift.

I can't really can't blame the producers of the program for tiptoeing up to an issue then immediately scurrying back for cover. I suppose I should give them credit for even have gotten within cannon shot of such a "sensitive" issue. Had they approached the subject objectively, the U.S. Military, the only branch of the United States government allowed to freely practice blatant discrimination against its own citizens, and upon whose good graces NCIS depends for cooperation and tacit support, would without question withdraw all cooperation from the show. What is truly, truly pathetic is the fact that they did not have the courage to face a serious issue which to this day destroys the lives of so many decent, loyal American men and women who want to serve their country without having to hide who they are--and that our government is still complicit, in its silence, in perpetrating this fundamental injustice.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell will be overturned, and within six months of its demise, the sky not having fallen, and the moral fiber of our military not having crumbled, no one will give the fact of gays and lesbians serving openly a second thought--except those who suffered because of it. And I can with equal certainty assure you that vast numbers of those who most strongly now oppose its repeal will, if asked, swear that they had been against the policy all along. Right.

But that homophobia, covert or overt, is still rampant in our truly bizarre, Puritan-based society is clearly evident (for those who bother to give it a single thought--and few do: why should they? They're heterosexual; they don't need to) in all aspects of television...probably the single strongest influence on our culture. Have you ever noticed the fact that all adult males not clearly in a situation in which they are dating--women, of course--must wear wedding rings? Advertising agencies provide them for any actor not already sporting one. Any commercial featuring an adult male not wearing a wedding ring must, at some point, include a shot with one or more adoring females. You doubt me? Look!

The first program of any non "reality" television program will go to great lengths to establish that each of the lead characters is heterosexual. This seems far more important for the male characters than the female, but then women don't really matter all that much anyway. I will guarantee you there will be a mention of a girlfriend or a former wife within the first ten minutes, whether it has anything whatsoever to do with the plot or not. Sexual orientation--read "heterosexuality"--cannot simply be ignored as a factor. To avoid the slightest question in the mind of some southern Baptist preacher whose wife might buy the sponsor's product that a character "one of those people" and therefore not worthy of their advertising dollar, it has to be established immediately that their concerns are baseless. ("Faggots? Queers? Fairies? Perverts? Degenerates? Not on our show!")

Ain't nobody here but us chickens!

New entries are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please come back...and bring a friend. Your comments are always welcome. And you're invited to stop by my website at, or drop me a note at

No comments: